What is Google Authorship & Why was it Created?
Google Authorship is the ability to link a Google+ profile to online content. It was essentially created as Google has built its reputation on its ability to provide the information Internet users want, quickly, easily and above all accurately.
However, as the content posted on the web continues to increase along with user demand for quality information, search engines such as Google have to keep ahead of the curve. Google continues to develop more sophisticated ways of identifying quality content and ensuring that it is ranked above less relevant material.
Initially, this was achieved by analysing the words used in web pages and ranking them according to their relationship with the user''s search criteria. Unfortunately, this became exploited by unscrupulous web designers who began adding words to their pages purely to catch the attention of search engines (particularly Google).
To prevent this, Google then started to assess the relevance of a site''s links, which, although an improvement, was still open to abuse by the unscrupulous and also penalised smaller sites with quality information but fewer links. Google''s most recent advancement was therefore to create Google Authorship, which many believe is a first step towards Google incorporating author reputation into its search algorithm.
What''s the Benefit to Google?
Search engines are only as good as the service they provide. By identifying authors who regularly provide quality content (and those who routinely produce poor content) Google hopes to increase the relevance of its search results.
What''s the Benefit to Authors?
In order for Google Authorship to have any benefit to Google itself, authors have to be willing to sign up to it so Google has been keen to highlight the advantages it provides. The headline benefits are that by linking content to a Google+ profile, authors are given much greater information about how their content is shown in Google search results. Also, that authors who have signed up to Google Authorship are given preference on the search results page.
The reality is, the authors who are eager to promote themselves online will take the necessary steps to ensure that they adapt to Google Authorship. This means that authors who reject it run the risk of being left behind in the search engine rankings even if their content is of high quality. It is also fair to say that writers who produce content for resale are likely to be particularly impacted. It is becoming more common for content buyers to specify a preference for authors with a strong Google+ profile.
What are the Problems for Authors?
At current time, it would appear there are none, at least not for authors who aim to produce quality content. If anything, these authors will benefit from being able to build an online reputation. It may be that in the future Google will introduce paid author rankings in the same way as they already permit paid search rankings. However, they would need to do so in such a way that users can still access quality content quickly and easily so it should still be possible for authors to attract a following without having to pay Google for the privilege in the same way as many websites already do.
What does Google Authorship Mean for Bloggers?
The key impact of Google Authorship is likely to be that authors who create compelling content have greater options to market it effectively and to create a valuable online following. This may mean that authors either need to learn about marketing or to team up with someone who does.